Leading TV producer Aaron Kaplan (Life In Pieces, Santa Clarita Diet) is giving back to his alma mater, USC. Kaplan, President and CEO of Kapital Entertainment, has created First Jobs, a program which gives recent Cinematic Arts graduates their first paid entry-level jobs in the entertainment industry.
Kaplan, a graduate from USC’s Marshall School of Business, who as an agent at WMA taught at the School Of Cinematic Arts and helped it secure a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, hatched the idea for First Jobs during a lunch with the school’s dean Elizabeth M. Daley. Kaplan, a member of the School’s Alumni Development Council, then reached out to SCA alumni, who in turn recruited others. The list of top writer-director-producers who quickly came on board to launch the program include Nahnatchka Khan (Fresh Off The Boat), Josh Schwartz (Gossip Girl), John Singleton (The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story), Tim Story (Think Like A Man), and Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner.
“We owe it to the entertainment industry to populate our projects and productions with the best and the brightest,” says Kaplan. “Launching First Jobs at USC, the #1 ranked school for study of cinematic arts, makes it possible to identify and support the most qualified and highly trained future leaders, innovators, creators and storytellers.”
Kaplan sees the initiative as a way for those who have made it in Hollywood to pay it forward. “Getting that first paying job for graduates is really, really difficult, and we’ve found a way to make it less difficult,” he said. “The rest is up to them.”
So far Kaplan has hired 6 SCA graduates on six of his pilots. Khan has made a hire on her ABC pilot Jalen vs. Everybody, and so has Schortz on one of his pilots.
Kaplan’s goal is for the initiative to be in full force by the end of next year, creating 50 new entry-level paid jobs a year for SCA graduates.
First Jobs is supported by SCA’s Office of Industry Relations which will help qualified candidates submit applications for the interview process. All SCA alumni are welcome to participate.